In a word, no. Here is why I say that:
Years ago I was on the hunt for information about plant propagation. I visited many websites looking for information. One in particular caught my attention; Freeplants.com. Why? because of the information I got for free of course! I visited often for that free information, but always refused to purchase his growers system. “I don’t know this particular person so how do I know if this is a scam”, I said to myself.
Eventually I did sign up for the free newsletter and was quite surprised at the good information I received. Of course, with the good information came the plugs for the growers system Mike sells. Again, I never took him up on it.
One of the newsletters spoke of a new forum he was developing where you could get free information on plant propagation. I visited the forum and spent many hours reading and learning about propagation.
About a year later I decided to buy into the growers system Mike sells after getting my income tax refund. I had some reservations, but decided to go ahead and do it anyway. I almost immediately received the ebooks he had promised and I dove right in. There was some very good information in them, as well as a suggestion that to get the full benefit from the ebooks and DVDs that were being sent, I should join the Backyard Growers Board, another forum where plant propagators interact and share information. This forum was different than the first. This forum was a private one where nursery owners share ideas, suggestions, and suppliers. I figured I did not need it at the time and chose not to spend any more money to join.
Shortly after, I received my DVDs in the mail, and with them, I received an invitation to the private growers board. I was allowed a 45 day free trial to see if it was something I wanted. Of course I jumped at the chance to interact with other plant propagators. I figured I could use the 45 days to gather all the free information I could as well as assemble a list of the suppliers they were using. I fully planned on just gathering as much information as I could and move on.
My first night on the board I was so overwhelmed with information that I was up until 3am. It was a bit tough to get up at 5 and go to work, but my juices were flowing. There was so much information! I couldn’t keep with the number of messages I wanted to save. I copied and pasted so much information into a Word file that it became too big to even find the information I wanted. This was all the very first night!
As well as the information, there is a for sale section of the board where growers buy and sell plants and other nursery related items. I immediately began to buy plants so I could begin to propagate and sell them for profit. In about a months time I had purchased more than 200 plants!
Eventually, my 45 days were almost up and I had to decide whether to buy into a permanent membership. Remember, I had every intention of gathering as much information for free and moving on. However, once I saw the information that was available and the plants I could purchase for mere pennies, I decided I would join. The problem I had was where the money was coming from. Like most everyone, I had a cash flow problem; I never had enough to do what I wanted!
While on the board, I noticed that almost everyone was having a tough time finding parts for their misting systems and putting it all together. Being very mechanical, I designed and built a misting system and tested it out. It worked like a charm and I started to sell them on the board. The response was amazing! I quickly sold out and purchased parts to make more. By the time my 45 days were up I had made enough money to purchase my permanent membership. That was over 3 years ago as of this writing and I have never regretted it.
So now we are back to that question; is Mike McGroarty and his Freeplants website a scam? I can wholeheartedly say no. I am completely satisfied with Mikes growers system and what it has to offer, he has inspired me to start a very successful company that sells misting systems and components. I have personally seen folks join and be running a successful nursery in a years time. Of course, if you are looking for a get rich quick scheme that you don’t have to do any real work, the system is not for you. But, if you love to work with plants and are not afraid of actually working for your money, it may be for you. Still not sure? Check out his book: Easy Plant Propagation for more good propagation advice.
Check out the Freeplants website and sign up for the newsletter to see what kind of information you get for free. There is also a link there to the public forum where you can get some information about plant propagation too. I hope you decide to get the growers system and join the board. I would love to see you there!
Here is a short list of books I use:
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses
Hartmann and Kester’s Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices (7th Edition)
American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques